Meet Rico and Crystal Worl, the brother and sister team behind the Trickster Company brand. The company began 5 years ago when Rico started making custom skateboards with his own designs. He loved skateboarding but the passion behind the brand was more about design than the sport itself. A few years in, his sister Crystal who had recently completed art school at the Institute of American Indian Arts joined him as their vision and knowledge aligned. Now as a “Inspired Natives" their mission is to represent their culture by integrating it into everyday products. I had a chance to chat with Rico on what they want the brand to represent, the misconceptions they face, and a term called survivance.
There is something good happening now, I’m seeing a lot of Native companies and artists representing and it’s opening up the idea that we can fully embrace our traditional roots, but still live and participate in the modern world. -Rico Worl
On how the brand evolved:
Once we had been creating for our friends and family for awhile and found that demand was growing, we did a kickstarted campaign for our playing cards that confirmed there was a demand for our designs on everyday products. We eventually opened a shop in Juneau which has expanded to involve participation from other family members so that Crystal and I can continue to focus on the art/design side of things. We do about 95% of all the design that’s Trickster branded and about 50% of the hand made merchandise. We also do some collaborations with other Native artists when we can.
On their mission to stay present while still upholding cultural traditions:
There is something good happening now, I’m seeing a lot of Native companies and artists representing and it’s opening up the idea that we can fully embrace our traditional roots, but still live and participate in the modern world. I really like Louie Gongs “support Inspired Natives- not Native inspired” movement. Every day there are less excuses to buy knock off Native designs than the day before. Being able to represent is one of the missions of our brand. We have the ability to have a voice and to us that’s more than an opportunity, it’s a responsibility.
Native people and art are pushed into this category of only being traditional which is ridiculous because we are people that interact with the global economy just like everyone else. We’re engaged with all of the same stories as every other American and we are still here- in the present. We are also very connected to our culture and the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
On Survivace- a term you probably haven’t heard yet:
Post colonization there was a lot of shock and distress and it’s had a generational impact. Now we’re currently in a renaissance of what Native culture is and I think survivance is the best way to describe where we’re at. Native survivance is a term revolutionized by Gerald Vizenor and "is an active sense of presence over historical absence, deracination, and oblivion", its much more alive and enduring than simple survival.
Words and interview by: Sarah Isely